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VIDEO: Huaiying Zhang on Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation in Telomere Maintenance of ALT Cancer

Carnegie Mellon’s Huaiying Zhang joined Dewpoint and virtually on February 24 to tell the condensates community all about her lab’s work on LLPS in telomere maintenance. Huaiying has been in the condensate field for quite a long time and studied with both Cliff Brangwynne and Amy Gladfelter where they published a seminal Molecular Cell paper on the phase separation of polyQ proteins with RNA. She has fearlessly applied a remarkably diverse set of tools to study condensates including imaging and biophysics methods as well as novel chemical tools.

In her talk you’ll hear about some of those compounds that have enabled amazing progress in understanding the role of telomeres in cancer. She delivered a wonderfully clear lecture as part of our Kitchen Table Talk series, and I’m happy to share it with you below.

Huaiying Zhang on LLPS in ALT Cancer

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Mark Murcko (00:01):
Hello everybody. Thanks for joining us. Welcome from snowy Boston. Our speaker today is Huaiying Zhang from Carnegie Mellon. We’re really glad that she’s agreed to do this lecture because she’s really been in the condensate field for quite a long time. She did work previously both in Cliff’s lab and Amy’s lab. And for example, she was a co-author on that really important 2015 Molecular Cell paper with both Amy and Cliff on polyglutamine interactions with RNA. It’s just one example of many. And she’s also of course working more recently these days in cancer, particularly in this old but still incredibly important topic of telomeres. And she’s already reported on quite a lot of that work, but she’ll be talking about more of that today. And she’s really remarkably diverse in the tools that she uses. To call her work multidisciplinary, I think, would barely cover it. She’s really fearless about applying diverse imaging and biophysical methods to her work. She’s also been involved in helping to develop some really creative chemical tools as well that she’s also reported on. And so today she’ll be telling us about her work on liquid-liquid phase separation in telomere maintenance in ALT cancers. So, thank you so much for giving this lecture, we’re looking forward to it.

Huaiying Zhang (01:27):
Thank you Mark for those kind words. I’m super excited to be here today. Next slide, please. We’re having some technical issue, so you’re going to hear me say a lot “Next, next”. Yeah, I’m very excited to be here talking about our work in cancer and phase separation. Next please.

Huaiying Zhang (01:54):
So, as a chemical engineer by training, my first memory about phase separation was actually from my polymer class, where we learned from studies like this where researchers look into droplets formed by polymer solutions and we’d map the phase diagrams, looking at how phase behavior is affected by temperature, the polymer chain length, etcetera. Next please….

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